This weekend I baptized one of our churches teen’s. It was a great time of rejoicing with her, her family, and our church family. Her testimony of coming to faith in Christ was simple yet profound. As we gathered by the pond that she would be baptized in, I remembered my own baptism and thought, “how great is God, God is the Great Redeemer!” Through the work of His Son on the cross, He takes people that are lost, and deserving of eternal punishment, and saves them. And here’s the amazing part about that; He doesn't save us because we’re worthy to be saved, no, He saves us in spite of the fact that we are at enmity with Him.
As our sister in Christ walked into the pond with me it was amazing to see this young person make her public confession of faith, not only in words but in action. That’s a difficult thing for teens and young adults to do today, yet there she was doing it in full public view. But when you think of the great exchange that takes place when one believes, you realize that a public testimony is very much the proper response. Let me explain the depth of this great exchange…
Before we are saved we are clothed in our own unrighteousness. We are unrighteous in the sight of God because of our sin and its condemnation. But when Jesus died on the cross, He atoned for the sins of all who would believe in His name and sacrifice. As Christ carried our sins to the cross, our sins and their condemnation was imputed upon Him. When His sacrifice was received and accepted by the Father as indicated by His words, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and He was raised from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, His righteousness is imputed upon us, all who believe in Him.
This is called the great exchange because just as Christ was clothed in our sins on the cross, we who believe in Him are now eternally clothed in His righteousness. So when God the Father looks at us, He no longer sees our sin, but His Son’s righteousness. And so, when we believe and enter into baptism, we are professing to the world the great exchange that has taken place in our lives, and we are saying that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ.
My hope is that as you remember your baptism, you would remember that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1), and that you would reaffirm your commitment to walk in newness of life.